Christmas Town back, bigger than ever

sbirkenmeyer@vagazette.com

Christmas Town is back for another year of holiday cheer. The event opened Friday, bringing more than 8 million Christmas lights, a bigger workshop for Santa, a new show and more to Busch Gardens through New Year’s Day.

“It’s a special time of year,” said Ron Vample, the theme park’s senior communications manager. “It’s that time of year where families come together. We use Christmas Town as a conduit.”

Santa and Mrs. Claus spent their time off moving to a larger workshop, now located inside the park’s Curse of DarKastle ride. Vample said the tradition remains the same, but the extra space allows more room for creating new memories.

“We can have more kids and a lot grander time,” he said.

The new show, “The Gift of Harmony,” features a capella renditions of seasonal songs.

“The ensemble is going to be singing traditional holiday songs as well as some newer favorites,” Vample said.

A reimagining of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” turns the holiday classic into a 12-minute, four-dimensional experience, featuring wind and bubbles to immerse families in the experience.

“You can feel what’s happening onscreen,” Vample said.

The park’s Germany village features a new shop for cookies and cocoa, with 15 varieties of cookies available by the pound. Guests can fill a tin with the ones they want or use a special kit to decorate their own.

To help keep guests warm, the park offers four varieties of Ghiradelli specialty hot chocolate: regular, peppermint, salted caramel and peanut butter. A flight option lets those interested try all four flavors.

“We’ll have heated seating so you can really enjoy yourself,” Vample said.

The park is also operating 24 rides throughout Christmas Town, including roller coasters Invadr and Verbolten for those seeking Christmastime thrills.

Vample said the magic of Christmas Town should inspire warm feelings and family bonding for longtime visitors and first timers alike.

“The awe that they have on their faces as they walk through the park and see what we’ve done to it, it’s a sight to behold,” he said. “It’s a little bit different from what you would normally feel during the rest of the year. It’s really indescribable.”

Want to go?

The Christmas Town Fun Card offers unlimited visits for $49. Single day ticket prices vary by day. Visit bit.ly/2B9ixkl for tickets.

Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.

Copyright © 2017, The Virginia Gazette